Cats’ eyes removed before fatal crash in Norfolk overnight

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Published:
06:00 July 7, 2022



Road resurfacing saw cats’ eyes removed months before an overnight crash that killed a man when his car crashed into a house, it has been revealed.

Reflective safety features picked up and not reinstated during road surface repair work on the B1140 through the village of Panxworth, near South Walsham, in March 2021.


Reflective safety cat eyes had not been reinstated after road resurfacing through Panxworth
– Credit: Simon Parkin

Christopher Williams, 32, from Newtown in Thetford, died after his Vauxhall Corsa crashed into an elderly woman’s house on a tight bend in the village at 12.40am on January 2 this year.

Although other motorists and local residents rushed to help, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cat’s eye studs have since been reinstated on the centerline markings on the road which has no lampposts.

It is unclear what caused the fatal crash which saw Mr Williams’ car veer off the road and smash into the front of the house.


Following a fatal accident

The elderly occupant of the house was shaken but uninjured by the accident
– Credit: Simon Parkin

Norfolk Police say crash investigators have carried out a review of the circumstances of the crash and a report has been prepared for the coroner.

An inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard he died of multiple trauma following a road accident.

Following the crash, local residents raised concerns about the safety of the road which has a 30mph limit as it twists into several tight bends.

Neighbors also questioned whether the removal of the cats’ eyes played a role in the crash.

Panxworth owner Gavin Ralph said: ‘I strongly believe the removal of the cats eyes played a part in the accident and this should be further investigated to determine why these devices Vital road safety has not been restored in a timely manner.


cat eyes

Cat’s eyes are a road marking safety device that reflects car headlights
– Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“A reflective cat’s eye is a road safety device for safe nighttime navigation, especially on unlit roads with junctions and in this case a 90 degree turn where the road narrows with a change in inclination. “

Norfolk County Council confirmed the cats’ eyes had been removed ahead of resurfacing work in March 2021.

“We understand there needs to be an investigation into this tragic incident and it would be inappropriate to comment prior to that,” a spokesperson said.

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